Lawyer: Term extension should apply to VP Leni, too
What would be applied to President Duterte should also be applied to Vice President Leni Robredo.
That’s according to the Vice President’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who said Robredo’s term of office must be likewise extended if Mr. Duterte is allowed to remain longer as President under any Charter change to shift to a federal form of government.
“What is sauce for the gander should also be sauce for the goose, as the saying goes,” said Macalintal, who represents Robredo in the election protest lodged by her defeated poll rival, former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“The idea being floated by administration allies to extend Duterte’s term cannot be a one-sided affair solely for their own benefit,” he said.
Any constitutional amendment that would extend Mr. Duterte’s term should be accompanied by “a corresponding provision that the term of office of Robredo is automatically extended,” he said.
Macalintal clarified that he was speaking for himself, not as Robredo’s lawyer.
“I have not consulted VP Robredo before, during and after making this statement and that she is totally unaware that I would be making this media release,” he said.
Robredo, chair of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), has not issued any statement on the extension of the President’s term.
Macalintal said he believed Mr. Duterte would not agree to any constitutional amendment “that is obviously too discriminatory and one-sided, if not totally self-serving and inequitable.”
Reacting to Macalintal’s statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said any extension of the Vice President’s term “will depend on what the people ratify.”
The idea of extending the President’s term was brought up by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III. Separately, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the 2019 midterm elections might be canceled to pave way to the transition to a federal government.
The statements by the Congress leaders alarmed opposition lawmakers who likened the move to the 1970s martial law-era Amendment No. 6, which allowed the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to continue ruling by decree even after he had formally lifted military rule in 1981. —WITH A REPORT FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA
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